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Review: proDAD Defishr

With the popularity of POV cameras like the GoPro, a lot of shooters are producing extreme wide-angle footage with a pronounced (and usually unintended) fisheye look. proDAD's just-released Defishr application provides an ingenious fisheye fix.
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A while back I heard a rumor that proDAD was working on something really interesting that removed fisheye from video footage. Last month when I saw the press release about Defishr on Streaming Media Producer, of course I wanted to give it a test to see how it works. proDAD is known best for applications like the Mercalli image stabilization tool and the Adorage effects package that function as plugins to all the major NLEs.

But most of those tools begin life as standalone apps, and for the moment, Defishr is no different—it's not available as a plugin to any NLEs yet, but is shipping (and downloading) now as a standalone for $79 from www.prodad.com. The SDK is available for developers to create the necessary plugins to allow it to work within your NLE, but for now, if you want to use it to fix fisheye issues, you'll have to process your footage externally.

Fisheye Issues with POV Cameras

With the popularity of POV cameras like the GoPro, CountourHD, and myriad others, a lot of shooters are producing footage that has a pronounced fisheye look to it. For some uses, the extreme-wide-angle look is acceptable and even preferable. For other uses it is a major nuisance.

I play around with RC Multirotors in my corporate work (and my spare time) and my camera of choice for aerial footage is the GoPro, so I've shot plenty of fisheye footage. With RC aircraft, there is generally a fair amount of up-and-down tilt in the flying process that can bend a horizon to the point at which watching the footage can making you sick if your aircraft is not super stable.

Even it if is stable and the horizon is not centered, that fisheye look can make your footage look—if not quite nausea-inducing—at least a little strange.

Test Footage

To test Defishr I used it on two different clips of GoPro footage with serious fisheye issues. One clip is some aerial footage I shot from my multirotor copter of a friend flying his 3D RC airplane. The second clip was shot with the GoPro attached to the hood of my car for a drive to the gym on a snowy day here in Wisconsin. I knew a driving-type shot would really show the kind of fisheye and distortion that can make viewers queasy.

I also found a GoPro2-shot still image of a friend's house that I took when it was rebuilt after a tornado destroyed it. I figured those three scenarios would give Defishr a pretty good test.

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